Sony's out of touch, the MIA Black Friday and Cyber Monday PS5 deals prove it

Galactic PS5 covers (in order) - Galactic Purple, Nova Pink, Nova Pink, Cosmic Red, Midnight Black
(Image credit: Sony)

Legend has it that once a year, all of the recommended retail prices take a night off, and all rules go out the window for 24 hours. It's like The Purge for discounts. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are traditionally when we see huge savings on big-ticket items, especially consoles. But, for three years in a row now, Sony has bucked the trend. Where are all the PS5 deals?

For weeks now, we've been keeping an eye open for hints and rumors of PS5 deals. After all, the console launched way back in 2020; after two years, you could expect that a console would start to get discounts.

After all, Sony's competitors have been discounting their consoles. There have been some great Cyber Monday Xbox Series X deals, and Microsoft's console has been out for just as long as the PS5. Meanwhile, there have been brilliant bundles, discounts, and Nintendo Switch Cyber Monday deals, including on the Nintendo Switch OLED, and that console's only been out for a year.

Hints of savings

Kratos by a tree

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Ahead of Black Friday, we heard that Sony had increased US PS5 stock imports significantly, in time for the release of God of War Ragnarok. It's the biggest game Sony's releasing this year (sorry, Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us Part 1), so it makes sense Sony wants and needs to have consoles on shelves, ready for all that demand.

But, considering this year, Sony also hiked the price of the PS5, in regions outside the US, it felt like this would have been a perfect moment to bring in a brief sale. A short discount window to bring the hardware back to pre-price hike levels, similar to the Cyber Monday Oculus Quest 2 deals Meta's been running. As well as a $50 discount, you can buy the hardware bundled with two of the VR headset's best games. (Although, the deal isn't quite as good as it first appears.)

Microsoft hasn't ruled out an Xbox Series X|S price hike in 2023, which makes the current discounts on hardware stand out. This isn't the retailers setting the discount either, Microsoft has led the price drop from its own website. You can get the Xbox Series S for $50 / £60 off, with an AU$100 saving on offer down under.

We've seen significant Cyber Monday graphics card deals, too, so it appears the chip shortages that plagued the PS5's first two years are no longer an issue for other manufacturers. Which all begs the question, if not now, when will we see PS5s get discounts?

Tightening belts

The side panel of a PS5

(Image credit: Sony)

We are likely only just beginning to feel the cost of living crisis, and one of the impacts on our hobby is that this is the first time I can think of where console prices have increased. Two years into a console's life cycle, we should be expecting the launch of a PS5 Slim, not still be waiting on PS5 restocks and looking at increasing console prices. This feels like the last opportunity for manufacturers like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony to provide a discount before they really feel the pinch of economic recession.

This is only the latest example of Sony appearing to be out of step with current economics. Twice in the last month, it has announced extremely expensive hardware launches for 2023. 

The PSVR 2 will cost $549.99 / £529.99. Look, I've played Horizon Call of the Mountain, and the headset is an incredible device, but spending that much on a piece of hardware in 2023 will be a hard decision. 

Then there's the DualSense Edge, the PS5's pro controller, which will go on sale for $199.99 / £209.99. Microsoft's equivalent, the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, is currently enjoying big Black Friday discounts, reduced to $129.99 / £142, but even at full price it's significantly cheaper than the DualSense Edge, which is demonstrably overpriced.

The PS5 is an excellent console, offering some standout exclusives, but Microsoft is closing in. Its studio acquisitions are set to pay off in the coming year. If the PS5 doesn't become more available soon, and more affordable, it could spell real trouble for its place in this console generation.

Julian Benson
Contributor, TechRadar Gaming

Julian's been writing about video games for more than a decade. In that time, he's always been drawn to the strange intersections between gaming and the real world, like when he interviewed a NASA scientist who had become a Space Pope in EVE Online,  or when he traveled to Ukraine to interview game developers involved in the 2014 revolution, or that time he tore his trousers while playing Just Dance with a developer.